You know how the result is always the same when you keep banging your head into a wall without changing anything? I have lost count of how many times I have started The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, each time with as much oomph as the previous one and each as abandoned after a month or two. And yet here I am at it once again, so let’s jump straight in!
In This Post
This blog post covers the following:
- Why Not Just Leave It?
- No Expectations
- The Biggest Change This Time
- What Now?
- Step 1 · Acquire The Book
- Step 2 · Download The Worksheet
- Step 3 · Build A Happiness Project
- Step 4 · Follow Along On This Blog
- Wraping Up
Why Not Just Leave It?
Why a new attempt now? Schools are starting, I just got back to work after three weeks away, and autumn will soon be here.
Even though the calendar year is nowhere near an end yet, there was a time when I lived by calendars geared towards students, with August being the first month. There is still something exciting about this time of year, so I want to grab the opportunity to slowly build momentum.
Seeing as all previous attempts ended after a few months at the most, I have no expectations whatsoever this time. This was not my approach earlier. If I stop after a month or two it simply wasn’t for me, or the timing wasn’t right.
There is a moving date looming on the horizon, however, so a Happiness Project may actually be exactly what I need both before, during and after to stay as grounded and clear-headed as possible. We will see.
The Biggest Change This Time
While I subscribe to sticking to a plan as it was outlined by its creator when testing it the first time, I also firmly believe in tweaking what doesn’t quite work for me until I am happy. A couple of examples below are the KonMari method by Marie Kondo and recipes on AllRecipes.com.
While KonMari has caused extremely aggressive reactions in some readers, my personal approach has been to declutter in a manner inspired by Marie Kondo, but not fold most things. Clothes hangers feel nice to me and I enjoy spending as little time as possible on my laundry. It is no longer the original KonMari method, and I am fine with this.
Reviews on AllRecipes.com are another story. They can get my blood boiling a tiny bit, which I both recognise as silly and find amusing about myself. I simply cannot stand wading through reviews that claim to have followed the recipe, but omitted the cream, added coconut milk, not added most spices or added a huge number of new ones, until they didn’t make the original recipe but created their own. Lady, start your own recipe profile or at least go away! Hehe, yeah…
So, back to The Happiness Project. Gretchen Rubin planned the twelve months in advance. I think that is where it is easy to drop out.
Life happens, circumstances change a little or a lot, and we don’t know what the world looks like next week these days. The pandemic is also still teaching me about fluctuating energy levels in myself and others.
For this reason I have no idea of what my project will end up covering, not even in broad strokes.
Maybe some will think that this deviates too much from the original setup, but I do not. I prefer to take it month by month, because lately anything bite-sized feels so manageable that I actually finish stuff instead of stopping halfway.
To me this seems like a road to a life lived more contentedly, and my relief of not sticking to someone else’s structure is enormous. My project could actually work!
Step 1 · Acquire The Book
If you want to create your own project, you are welcome to follow along. Quite a few libraries have The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin available for borrowing now, so this could be an option if you don’t want to buy it.
Mine is a paperback version, but another of Rubin’s books sits on my digital shelf, and yet another is available through OverDrive for libraries, if my memory still serves me. The digital option is perfect if you move often and want to avoid heavy new additions to your moving boxes. (Speaking from experience here.) Digital means text and audio versions, I should add.
Step 2 · Download The Worksheet
My newsletter subscribers get access to a free PDF worksheet available for downloading in the Library. Sign up below for further instructions so you can grab the resource!
The worksheet includes an overview page to check a box each day of each month, a monthly page with a section for journaling, and an extra journaling page if you get excited enough to write beyond the monthly page.
Step 3 · Build A Happiness Project
This is a chance to reflect on where you are in life at the moment, and where you wish to be. What are you doing and how do you feel, if circumstances were ideal? These two questions are only the beginning in terms of bridging the gap between today and the future you.
In my blog post A Primer To Medicine: The Complex Definitions Of Health And Wellness, I discuss the definitions of health and wellness as concepts. Wellness is related to active choice and mindset to a great extent, so in my opinion The Happiness Project ties seamlessly in with this.
Step 4 · Follow Along On This Blog
I would like very much to discuss this Happiness Project with others, so if you share this thought, bookmark my blog and check in monthly. You will find the blog posts of this series in their own collection by clicking on this button:
I will discuss my thoughts on the introductory chapter of the book and share my August project with you in the next blog post of this series, so stay tuned.
Thereafter I aim to post once around each change of the month to ponder the finished project as well as reveal my plan for the new month.
Now I invite your thoughts in the comments below!
Photo credit: S O C I A L . C U T.